Laurie Anderson's long-awaited new album, Homeland, her first studio record in nearly a decade, is out on Nonesuch today. As noted yesterday in the Nonesuch Journal, Pitchfork rates the album 8.3, calling it "an exquisite state-of-the-union dispatch as only Anderson, America's darkly comic conscience, can provide ... The music is spacious, mercurial, and thoroughly conceived." The Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, and the Independent (UK) give it four stars. Australia's Courier-Mail calls it "some of the most striking music of Anderson's career." MusicOMH gives the album a perfect five stars, exclaiming, "what a work of art it is."
Canada's Globe and Mail also gives the album four stars. "Laurie Anderson is so good with words that it’s easy to forget she’s a songwriter and not someone who just speaks over music," says reviewer J. D. Considine. "Homeland is a major corrective in that regard, and not just because it’s blessed with some of the most vivid soundscapes of her career." Considine explains that "the wealth of acoustic detail ensures that there’s something new to discover with each re-hearing." Read the review at theglobeandmail.com.
Fenway Bergamot, Anderson's male alter ego, is featured on the album cover and on the track "Another Day in America," which the Independent, in its four-star review of the album, describes as its centerpiece. Over the past five weeks, through a weekly series of short videos on Nonesuch.com, he has offered further insight into recent days in America and broader contemporary culture. In the fifth and final video in the series, now available at nonesuch.com/media, Bergamot imagines the pastoral life of a troubadour, with all that might entail—the good, the bad, the fantastical.
Anderson spoke with Salon.com's Margaret Eby about Bergamot, Homeland, her recent smash Music for Dogs concert in Sydney, and what Eby sees as Anderson's pivotal role in the mainstreaming of what was once avant-garde, like performance artist Marina Abramovic's successful foray at New York's Museum of Modern Art and, well, all that Lady Gaga does.
"The avant-garde has taken over," says Eby, "and it all started with Laurie Anderson. The godmother of the New York art scene, Anderson and her pioneering performances loom large over contemporary artists and musicians."
Anderson is quick to deflect such notions and revels her "secret ambitions to just be a comedian. That's what I'd really like to do, stand-up comedy." Read more of what she has to say in the in-depth interview at salon.com.
Canada's National Post caught up with Anderson during her recent trip to London, for the first public appearance from Bergamot, whom the Post's Mike Doherty says "provides the album's oddly moving centrepiece." Doherty and Anderson discuss Homeland and the daunting process she undertook of combing through myriad recorded files to create the album. You'll find the article at nationalpost.com.
And for further insight into the making of the record, there's an excerpt from "Homeland: The Story of the Lark," the 40-minute documentary included with the album, also at nonesuch.com/media.
To pick up a copy of the Homeland CD/DVD, head to the Nonesuch Store.